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Thursday, 20 December 2018
Fiji 2018 Election: Let the Court Decide
USP's Professor of Development Studies Vijay Naidu has welcomed the Opposition parties court challenge on the 2018 election process and results, saying that grey areas in a number of election rules will now be tested. “In 2014 there was some disaffection, but the opposition was disorganised and were unable to take it to the court of disputed returns,” he explained. “But this time they’re better organised, they raised the issues, so it’s testing out the applicability of the laws and how the system works.”
He thinks the outcome should benefit the country, but is uncertain what would happen if the court upheld the petitions, especially now that the government had been sworn in. Though he doubts the outcome would affect the allocation of parliamentary seats.
Professor Naidu described Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's attempt to prevent the serving of the petition writs, described in my earlier post pn205 "Fiji's Christmas Political Pantomime", as "unprecedented" and "shameful." The outcome was that the Court ruled the petitions could instead be given through the newspapers.
Fiji’s Unity Party, which did not gain enough votes to pass the 5% threshold to get into parliament, has also filed a petition disputing the election results. One unfortunate feature of the court appeal is its timing. With the Christmas and New Year breaks in the next few weeks, the date for a hearing is likely to be a month or more away. Meanwhile, uncertainty about the Court ruling adds to instability and the likelihood of unwise, hasty words and actions from Government and Opposition members and their supporters. -- ACW
https://www.fijitimes.com/fiji-elections-case-will-benefit-country-academic/has welcomed the Opposition parties court challenge